Unhide Forward Button

For whatever reason, Mozilla has decided starting with Firefox 11 to hide the forward button when you can not go forward. For once, this is not something that Mozilla has copied from Google Chrome, as the forward button is always displayed in Chrome. I suppose for people running very low resolutions (640×480, 800×600, etc), the extra space is welcomed. However, you are not really gaining any space as once you can go forward, the forward button reappears and the address bar is shifted to the right.

When you can not go forward the ‘forward’ button is hidden.

The ‘forward button’ reappears when you can forward and is integrated into the address bar.

There are a couple ways to ‘unhide’ the forward button. One is to use small icons instead of the default sized icons. Right-click on a toolbar button and select Customize… In the Customize Toolbar box check Use Small Icons at the bottom. If you still want to use the full size icons, Rob64Rock has provided this tip involving a quick customization and userChrome.css tweak:

  1. Put a ‘separator’ in between the back/forward button and the address bar.
    Note: To locate ‘separator’ right click any toolbar and select ‘Customize…’ then drag & drop.


  • Add this CSS code to userChrome.css [directions] to hide the separators
    Note: This does hide all separators on the toolbar:

/* Hides Toolbar Separator  */
#nav-bar toolbarseparator {display:none !important;}


Now, if for some reason you like this behavior want to have this feature before Firefox 11 comes out at the end of January 2012 (Note: The back button won’t integrate with the location bar as in the nightlies), you can add the below lines of code into your userChrome.css file [mozilla links]. This works with Firefox 3.6.x through 10.0.x:

/* Conditionally hide the Forward button */

{  display: none; }

10 Comments on Unhide Forward Button

  1. The “whatever reason” is because the forward button is rarely used in relation to the back button, which is the single most used widget in any browser user interface. And I’m pretty sure they are only hiding the button if you can’t go forward, which makes sense.

    • I know it does make sense, but it just doesn’t look that great when it appears shoving the address bar over to the right to make room for the missing button.

    • My forward button constantly disappears whenever I need it, and when there’s a page to go forward to. Firefox is clearly flawed in this sense.

  2. Bad_Attitude | November 24, 2011 at 7:00 AM |

    One of the things I’ve always liked about FF is the ability to customize the appearance to an almost unlimited degree. And I have to admit that I for one like the ability to hide the forward button. Having the controls grouped together and being able to make a quick glance to get the info I need is important to me, this is also why I like to show the links and network status in the address bar. After trying it for a couple weeks I’ll just leave it conditional. Heck, I’ve even played around with making the back button conditional (#back-button[disabled=”true”]{ display: none; } which I would use if the forward button was square but making both conditional does make the address bar move more (which I agree can be annoying). Either way, a quick glance does give you the ability to see if there is anything back or forward.
    In your screenshot I don’t see the Home button, must be at the other end of the address bar?
    In FF 8 the default small icons were changed, if you uncheck the box you get the old icons back, except for the back button, my issue is with the toolbar getting taller. Anyone know of a userscript or css to change the default small icons back?

    • Hi there – I can’t seem to regain an address bar to the right of my backward & forward buttons. Any idea how I can bring it back?

      (I’ve attempted all the Navigation Bar resets and so on. Still no address bar, so I’d like to know how I can get my address bar back.)



  3. In lieu of using a separator and then trying to hide it you can achieve the same result by using a “Flexible Space”. It works and there is nothing showing.

    As for getting info that you cannot go forward…

    I find a dimmed forward button is adequate to relay that information.

  4. Thank you so much! I absolutely hate how firefox thinks it knows better than the users *rolls eyes* and the forward button is something I’m used to, I’ve been using FF 26 for a couple months and it was really beginning to get on my nerves. Thanks for this helpful tip 😀

  5. Thank you for the tip. I much prefer having a small bit of UI (forward button) that is disabled in a visually obvious way when not usable in the context to having UI (address bar) which jumps around the screen depending on the context.

    Moving the home button, or any other toolbar button you find useful, into the space between the forward button and the address bar will also cause the forward button to always show without requiring any separator trickery. (I am using FF 28.)

  6. anony04r24 | April 22, 2014 at 2:01 PM |

    When I do this (insert a flexible space or seperator) the back button turns from a circle into a square… so this isn’t my prefered way.


    The above works for the forward button, but the back arrow keeps disappearing.

  7. Larry Camilli | May 6, 2015 at 5:53 PM |

    Hiding a button when it doesn’t do anything does not make sense if you consider the software to be a tool to be used efficiently. Imagine a telephone keypad where the meanings of the buttons change over time. Or, a calculator. Have you ever seen an accountant with a calculator? Their fingers fly – because the buttons do not move. -The 5 is always in the same place. Likewise, people, once they learn how to use some software, tend to click buttons based on location. They don’t want to stop and read the label on each button before they click. They should be able to assume that it will have the same effect as it did the last time they used it. Once they have mastered the software, they should not have to behave like a novice anymore, looking at the buttons to figure out what they do. Traditionally, a button that isn’t applicable at any particular time should be grayed out. Moving the buttons around turns experienced users into novices.

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